Friday, September 12, 2014

A Tale of Two Conferences

By Larry Beane

The LCMS is quite a diverse church body when it comes to things like conferences.

By way of example, here are descriptions of two upcoming conferences that will be happening shortly, less than one month apart, both of which will include speakers and worship services.

The first example is one of the official district conferences to be held this month (September).

Three of the four main scheduled speakers are pastors.  One of the three is a Lutheran, and his presentation is first.  His topic will be: "Toward Effective Ministry in Transitional Times" and is described as follows:

"Living and serving in God's grace in these changing times involves balance, clarity of purpose and values as well as personal and organizational health.  This time will be interactive, informative, and hopefully a time of introducing you to introspection and possible life ministry changes during this conference."

The two remaining ordained speakers come from outside the Lutheran tradition.  The first is a senior pastor of a Baptist congregation in Virginia.  He is the author of Bod4God: Four Keys to Weight Loss and Get off the Couch.  He is also the creator of the Losing to Live Weight Loss Competition....  The media has labeled him 'The Anti-Fat Pastor.'"  One has to wonder if he'll be attending the "Taco/Nacho/Chicken Wing Buffet (enough to call it dinner)" that includes "free beer, margaritas and sangria/wine."

Next up will be a pastor representing Cornerstone Fellowship, who is going to speak on "rediscovering a New Small Church filled with hope, passion, and innovative spark of the Holy Spirit."

The "opening worship" is not described other than that it will be held at a local parish, while the "closing worship" will be held at the resort where the conference will take place.


Less than a month later, another conference will take place, not a district function, but rather an annual congregational event.

The keynote speaker will be a Lutheran seminary professor with degrees from Oxford, Cambridge, and Durham.  He is the "author of volumes 12 (Lord's Supper) and 13 (Eschatology) of the series Confessional Lutheran Dogmatics.  His topic will be "The Blessed Sacrament in the Theology of Wilhelm Loehe."  There will also be a discussion on "the rubrics and significance of the Mass from the Preface to the Nunc Dimittis."

Like the other conference, there will be food, including a banquet featuring "brats and beer" and an "after the party party" at the pastor's home.

This conference will likewise include worship services, and will open with "choral vespers" and will include "mass" on the next day, as well as a "low mass" and "vespers" on the final day of the conference - all held in the sanctuary of the parish.

If it is true that diversity is our strength, the LCMS must be one of the mightiest church bodies on the planet.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Out of the barn!

The Michaelmas 2014 issue of Gottesdienst is heading to a mailbox near you (that is, if you're a subscriber; if not, click here). Here's what's inside:

Trinity 21                              Burnell F. Eckardt Jr.
Trinity 26                              Benjamin T. Ball
Funeral Sermon                     Larry L. Beane II
The Ritual of the Body            Larry L. Beane II

   Liturgical Observer   Burnell F. Eckardt Jr.
Purpose of Gottesdienst       
Patience Pays Off

  Commentary on the War  David H. Petersen
How to Write Better Sermons
Part 2: Writing 

Taking Pains  Mark P. Braden
The Cope 

He Shall Give His Angels Charge Over You
Kathryn Ann Hill
Then Shall Arise Michael T. David Demarest

Musing on the Mysteries  Karl F. Fabrizius
The Earth Is Filled with Violence
Genesis 6:8-13 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Oktoberfest again!

St. Paul’s Lutheran Church
109 South Elm Street, KewaneeIllinois

October 12-14, 2014 (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday)

The Nineteenth Annual Oktoberfest! and Gottesdienst Central will be hosting the Rev. John Stephenson, PhD, Professor of Historical Theology at Concordia Lutheran Seminary in St. Catherine’s, Ontario. A renowned confessional Lutheran scholar, Dr. Stephenson has received degrees from Oxford, Cambridge, and Durham. He is the author of volumes 12 (Lord's Supper) and 13 (Eschatology) of the series Confessional Lutheran Dogmatics, of which he is the editor in succession to Rev. Dr Robert Preus.  His areas of scholarly interest include the works of Pastor Wilhelm Loehe, who never came to America, but trained many of the first pastors in the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Dr. Stephenson will bring us his insights on 

“The Blessed Sacrament in the Theology of Wilhelm Loehe”

The event begins Sunday the 12th with choral vespers at 5 pm.  Following the service is our annual bratwurst banquet.  When everyone has had their fill of brats and beer, Dr. Stephenson will give a synopsis of his Monday seminar.  Following the banquet is the after-the-party party, at Pastor Eckardt’s home, where, as always, a gaggle of the editors of Gottesdienst will be milling about.
On Monday October 13th, the day begins with mass at 9:00 a.m. Following mass and a continental breakfast, Dr. Stephenson will hold forth for the rest of the day, in two sessions running until about 2:45, followed by vespers.
On Tuesday October 14th, the conference will continue without Dr. Stephenson, as those who remain will discuss the rubrics and significance of the Mass from the Preface to the Nunc Dimittis.  The Tuesday sessions will be framed by morning low mass (spoken Divine Service) and Vespers.

REGISTRATION: $40 (students $20); $60 per couple — includes Sunday banquet and Monday continental; children with parents no charge.  By email ( or calling 309-852-2461. Please provide name, address, and days you plan to attend.  You may pay the registration fee when you arrive.   Lodging: AmericInn. 309-856-7200.  Special rate $97.66, ($17 off—mention Oktoberfest when you register, by September 21st). Other hotels: Aunt Daisy’s B & B, 888-422-4148; Quality Inn, 309-853-8800; Days Inn (Sheffield), 815-454-2361; Best Western (Annawan), 309-935-6565; Kewanee Motor Lodge, 309-853-4000.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Ancient Christian Worship Was Not Informal!

An interesting look at the pre-Constantinian Western Mass that cuts against the grain of the post-Vatican II mythology that has wormed its way into modern American Lutheranism as well.

Read it here.

HT: Dr. William Tighe

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Lutheran Church is Massional!

The Rev. Mark Surburg has written a helpful overview of celebrating the sacrament of the altar every Sunday: viewed in light of scripture, tradition, the Lutheran confessions, and contemporary American Lutheran practice.

You can read it here.